My heart is longing Though my mind is confused. My soul is tired of sighing, My spirit is revolted, Time flows rapidly, Woes disappear slowly, I’m tired of repining, Will the universe conspire To reset it all anew As if all of this were a dream In the likeness of truth?
For all this time beneath this visiting moon, Where treasure is, my heart has not been at it with the lights of the lamp glowing in the gloom. But now I see the voracious time devour the kingdom of the shore, And the solid earth rule over the liquid main, Increasing store with loss and loss with store; When I see such vicissitudes of state, Or fate itself repeated over and over; Splashes of battle have taught me to ruminate That nothing stays the same to remain forever And I can’t depend on anything that changes. This thought is a truth that hope chooses And in the dying moments of today, fears I lose.
“So you have now the earth, the water, and the sky in your room! Awesome!” That was my brother when I told him over the phone about my recent adoption of a parakeet from a Petco. The paroxysm of excitement catapulted me into the awareness of a reality that I did bring a bird—those small but sharp beaks and those wrinkled tarsi feet manifesting the atavistic characteristics of dinosaurs, particularly the T-Rex. The truth that I now have to cohabitate with the least-likely coveted descendent of T-Rex still swivels my head in wonderment as if the ghost of Alice in Wonderland possessed me. So why the bird then?
While there might be the remotest chance of using my parakeet as a divine medium to consult my future, I have recently brought Sera home with great expectation of making a friend with the lonely Toro. Toro is now one year and four months old, and his growing curiosity calls attention for a playmate to share his enthusiasm and vociferous nocturnal stamina. Of course, the kinship of feline presence is the best option to fulfill the requirement. Still, the existential circumstances of present life eliminate it. Hence the lot fell into a blue parakeet I named Sera after the talking bird Serah, a travel companion of Sinbad the Sailor, from my favorite childhood cartoon. As you can guess, Sera is a girl who spends most of her time in front of the mirror and then trills in high soprano like a pretty and prim starlet prima donna.
My endless attempts to tame Sera to sit on my finger and her constant ignorance of my presence are both disheartening and ireful. Toro is a susceptible and timid cat who denied looking at dead fish by turning away his head from the sight. Even though Toro wishes no harm on his new friend Sera, who fastidiously avoids him with all her feathers and beaks, she defends herself from him with all her might. Toro looks at me with his large sad eyes full of liquid heartaches whenever the conflict occurs, and I comfort him in my arms. Sera then flaps her tiny pretty wings, returns to her castle, and ensconces herself on a twiggy perch with a loud and snappy chirping as a sign of victory over the feline Goliath.
I still don’t know if my decision to extra-species friendship is counterproductive amid Sera’s callous attitude toward Toro and me despite our apologies and continuous endeavor to reconcile with her. Perhaps I should not have taken Sera yet from the cage while she might have been still not familiarized with her new home. Still, there’s hope in my Pandora’s Box weaved in a rope of sparkling diamonds that promises a dazzling delight of trust and love filling the loneliness of the little hearts in our room. Who knows, one day Sera suddenly talks both Korean and English and tells me my todays and tomorrows? You never know.
Edgar Allan Poe expressed his contempt for readers who habitually flocked to books by famous authors on the sheer merit of their popularity without an individual appreciation of the contents. Likewise, I have a handful of the famous, the great people whose celebrity I hold no regard as I am going to unveil now. I have never liked Isaac Newton, albeit his genius is doubtlessly uncontested. Cantankerous, bellicose Newton was horrible to deal with, especially when you were his servant or maid or whoever he thought insignificant in his Elysium of high intelligence. He was also a closet occultist masquerading with the face of Rational Man with long-faced gravitas adorned in a long wavy wig. So how come Newton became a votary of Aristotle, who took the virtues to be central to a well-lived life? Since I tend to disassociate any such persona non grata (Newton, obviously) from one in my high regard (that is, Aristotle), I wanted to find out the incompatibility of the sullen scientist and the benign thinker.
Aristotle’s ethics, or study of character, is constituted around the premise that people should achieve an excellent character as a prerequisite for living a meaningful life. It is an essence of metaphysics in which Aristotle holds that there must be a separate and unchanging being that is the source of other beings. Only by becoming excellent could one achieve eudaimonia, happiness/blessedness that constitutes the best kind of human life. This philosophical perspective also applies to the ideas of self-sufficiency by Ralph Waldo Emerson and of Amore fati, the intellectual love of life by Friedreich Nietzsche.
Emerson regarded two separate elements as being united to create the world inside of you for the former. They are raw experiences gained from somatic sensory stimulation transformed into ideas and thoughts in the realm of reason, a process akin to a caterpillar transforming mulberry leaves into gorgeous silk. Nietzsche’s Amore fati is theologically conceived in an attempt to manifest the presence of Providence or God’s will with his infallible existence through Immanence by which an adequate idea of simple attributes of formal essence of God is applied to an adequate knowledge of the simple truth of things. It might be akin to the Eureka moment when Archimedes started running naked around the town in the enthusiasm of knowing the weight of the gold in the king’s crown from his water-filled bathtub. Or it could be the Ecstasy of Saint Teresa captured by Bernini as a cherub was mischievously thrusting the arrow back and forth into the heart of the virgin. In sum, Aristotle was right in saying that knowledge isn’t innate or guaranteed prima facie but gained from the reports of the senses and logical inference from self-evident truth.
I still believe that someone like Newton had no regard for moral excellence any more than gaining the knowledge of the universe because studying humanity was anathema to his lofty vision of the world and beyond, such as the alchemical realm. Newton was keen on Aristotle’s theory of the 5th element on top of the earth, air, fire, and water – that is, space of aether. Methinks, Newton was trying to get Rosetta’s stone in manipulating the 5th element proposed by Aristotle. He had not known that it would have become such a magical element to turn stone to gold. Notwithstanding Newton’s beguiled ambition to be a perfect Gargamel with the help of Aristotle, so to speak, my appreciation of Aristotle’s metaphysical school of thought decides that his brilliance is brighter than Plato and on par with Socrate in the constellation of philosophers’ stars.
We tend to be ready and eager to put fingers on those in need as if the milk of human kindness is not fit for them because we don’t like them as we see them. Such is because humans are physical rather than rational, operating on optical illusions to create our versions of reality. The present migrant crisis in the border of Belarus and Poland manifests dominance of Id over Superego, the eclipse of Reason by the Sense, in the face of travails on both sides of narratives.
Migrants mainly from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan now fly to Belarus on tourist visas after paying from $1,000 to $4,000 to brokers and go-betweens in the high hope for a low heaven. They think their and their children’s lives are grim and dreary, with holistically low living quality in their home countries. So, they keep their eyes at the stars in West Europe’s firmament, scintillating bright futures despite the impending hostility toward their religious belief and cultural unfamiliarity. The frigid cold and the equally cold reception do not seem to overthrow the migrants’ will to catch Luck of Troy in Unfriendly Europe. On the contrary, it brings the grist for the mill of furious Belarus disaffected with the EU’s economic sanctions for its still Soviet-era Modus Operandi of the government. Belarus sends the influx of migrants to West Europe through the gate of Poland as an audacious manifestation of vengeance and anger.
The Polish government defends their territory against the unwelcome intruders, clenching the fists toward heaven that their predecessors bled for the Polish, not for the aliens. The good-hearted people in the border area who help needy migrants face backlash from their neighbors and often become subject to judicial harassment for humanity. In this traumatic atmosphere threatening even the most basic requirement for and right of survival, the presence of children is default to provoke sympathy used as an emotional gambit to win the game of chance – for either side. People should not use children to acquire their political or social demands because that is another form of exploitation of childhood, using the vulnerability of children for soliciting the need for however righteous the cause is.